The 24.5m Broadband Improvement Project1 for Northern Ireland, which aims to make faster BT based fibre broadband (FTTC2/P) services available to an additional 45,000 premises by December 2015, it appears to be making some progress, with a new postcode checker being added and a general roll-out plan surfacing.
At the last count in August 2014 the scheme, which is supported by Broadband Delivery UK3, BT, the NIE and EU, had already helped some 3,231 homes and businesses to access faster connectivity and once complete the work should have helped to put nearly 100% of the entire region within reach of a fibre broadband connection.
In fairness Northern Ireland already had good availability of superfast broadband technologies, with Ofcom4 previously estimating that 96% could access related services, but this coverage figure drops to 91% in rural areas and that s where most of this project will be focusing.
So far a number of improvements have already and are continuing to take place in Antrim, Baillies Mill, Ballyclare, Beragh, Bready, Carrickfergus, Carrickmore, Castlederg, Claudy, Crumlin, Drumquin, Dunamanagh, Dungiven, Feeny, Glengormley, Gortin, Lisburn, Maze, Mountfield, Portglenone, Stoneyford and Templepatrick.
The general plan for upgrades going forward is summarised as follows (we ve thinned this down a bit to make it fit).
NI Broadband Upgrades Timetable by County (Tentative)
Antrim (September 2014 December 2015)
Antrim/Down (September 2014 December 2015)
Antrim/Londonderry (June 2015 September 2015)
Armagh (September 2015 December 2015)
Armagh/Down (December 2014 December 2015)
Armagh/Tyrone (December 2015)
Down (March 2015 December 2015) NOTE: Postcodes BT57 and BT341 are currently being upgraded.
Fermanagh (September 2015)
Fermanagh/Tyrone (September 2015)
Londonderry (March 2015 June 2015)
Londonderry/Tyrone (September 2014 December 2015)
Tyrone (September 2014 December 2015)
Interestingly the Northern Ireland Executive5 (NIE) also appears to be looking at filling in a few more pockets of poor coverage in the future, which might just help NI to hit the magical figure of 100% superfast broadband availability right on the nose, although precise details are still being discussed.
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